Ireland: Manufacturing PMI hits over-decade low in March
The AIB manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) plummeted to 45.1 in March from 51.2 in the previous month, marking the sharpest downturn in over a decade. As such, the reading fell below the 50-threshold that indicates a deterioration in manufacturing business conditions compared with the previous month.
March’s nosedive mainly reflected marked falls in new orders, output and employment. New orders contracted at the fastest rate since April 2009 amid falling demand due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, while manufacturing production fell at the quickest clip since June 2009, reflecting the collapse in incoming new work and severed value chains. As a result, employers shed jobs at a faster rate in March compared to the prior month. On the price front, input prices fell for the first time in nearly four years due to falling buying activity among firms and the drop in oil prices; however, output charges fell only marginally. Lastly, firms’ outlook for the year ahead deteriorated severely in March as firms perceived that the impact of virus containment measures would take a long time to recover from.